Blessing Okagbare is out of the women's 100 metre competition at Tokyo 2020 after being provisionally suspended for a failed drugs test.

The Nigerian sprinter came through Friday's heats in a time of 11.05 seconds and was due to go up against Dina Asher-Smith and Elaine Thompson-Herah in the semi-finals on Saturday.

However, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) informed Okagbare she had tested positive for a human growth hormone following an out-of-competition test on July 19.

The AIU added that a provisional suspension is mandatory for an adverse analytical finding for such a substance under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules.

It said no further comment would be made at this stage.

Okagbare was competing in her fourth Games and won a silver medal in the long jump at Beijing in 2008.

She was a strong medal hope and her provisional suspension follows the news 10 Nigerian athletes were declared ineligible for Tokyo 2020 due to non-compliance with out-of-competition drug testing requirements in the run-up to the Games.

Simone Biles has pulled out of two further events at Tokyo 2020, USA Gymnastics has confirmed.

The American superstar was involved in just one rotation of Tuesday's women's team final, in which she registered the lowest score, before sitting out the rest of the event.

It was later confirmed she would also not defend the individual all-around title she won at Rio 2016 in order to focus on her mental health.

On Saturday, USA Gymnastics confirmed Biles – a four-time gold medallist at Rio – will now not take her place in the finals of the vault and uneven bars, with further decisions to be taken on her participation in the floor and balance beam finals.

A statement from the governing body read: "After further consultation with medical staff, Simone Biles has decided to withdraw from the event finals for vault and the uneven bars. She will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether to compete in the finals for floor exercise and balance beam.

"We remain in awe of Simone, who continues to handle this situation with courage and grace, and all of the athletes who have stepped up during these unexpected circumstances."

Earlier this week, Biles took to Instagram to explain how her body and mind are "simply not in sync" and attempted to describe the different aspects that go into performing at the highest level when dealing with a mental block.

"For anyone saying I quit, I didn't quit, my mind and body are simply not in sync as you can see here," Biles wrote on her story. "I don't think you realise how dangerous this is on a hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health.

"It's honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind [and] body in sync.

"Literally cannot tell up from down. It's the craziest feeling ever, not having an inch of control over your body."

USA Gymnastics said MyKayla Skinner, who had the fourth highest score in qualification, will compete in the vault finals alongside Jade Carey.

World number one Novak Djokovic is desperate to rebound after his men's singles semi-final defeat, targeting "at least one medal" for Serbia with two bronze medal matches on Saturday.

Djokovic, chasing an elusive Golden Grand Slam, went down in three sets to German fourth seed Alexander Zverev on Friday in the men's singles.

The Serbian will instead face Pablo Carreno Busta in the men's singles bronze medal match on Saturday, while he has another medal hope in the mixed doubles.

Djokovic has partnered with Nina Stojanovic and will face Australian duo Ashleigh Barty and John Peers in the bronze medal match also on Saturday.

“I feel terrible right now in every sense but tomorrow hopefully a fresh start I can recover and win at least one medal for my country,” Djokovic said.

After losing to Zverev 1-6 6-3 6-1, Djokovic's tough day was compounded with defeat alongside Stojanovic in the mixed doubles' semi-finals to the Russian Olympic Committee's Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.

“Tough day, a really tough day," Djokovic said. "I feel so terrible right now. I was leading by a set then a break and [Zverev] managed to turn the match around.

"He served huge, was attacking, and I was not getting any free points on my first serves.

“I've got to give him credit for turning the match around. He served extremely well. I mean I was not getting too many looks on the second serve.

"My serve just drastically dropped. I didn’t get any free points from 3-2 up in the second. My game fell apart.

“To play someone of his quality, of his level, it's just too tough to win a match [like that]. It’s just sport. He played better.”

China bounced clear of Japan at the top of the medal table at the Tokyo Olympics thanks in part to a gold medal in trampolining.

Xueying Zhu edged out compatriot Lingling Liu to win the women’s final, maintaining the country's dominance in the event. Only at the Sydney Games in 2000 has China ever failed to have a competitor make it onto the podium.

There was also an all-China final in table tennis, Ma Long defeating compatriot Fan Zhendong in the men's singles final.

Add in further success in the mixed doubles final in badminton and China now has 19 golds at these Games, two more than the host nation.

The United States sit third in the standings with 14 golds, while Great Britain remain in sixth place thanks to Beth Schriever riding away with a gold in the women’s BMX final.

New Zealand improved on their previous solitary gold with not one but two victories in the water on Friday. Emma Twigg's win in the women's single sculls final was followed by glory for the men's eight. The women's team in the same discipline claimed silver, finishing second to Canada.

Ethiopia celebrated a first medal of any colour on Japanese soil, Selemon Barega triumphant in the men's 10,000 metres final as the athletics began, a fast finish seeing him cross the line ahead of Ugandan duo Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo.

 

Selemon Barega took the first athletics gold of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on a day when Novak Djokovic saw his Golden Slam hopes ended.

Barega topped the podium for Ethiopia as he saw off competition from Ugandan duo Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo on Friday.

The 21-year-old ran a smart race and had the stronger finish in him to see off pre-race favourite Cheptegei, who took silver ahead of compatriot Kiplimo.

"It means a lot to me because I have been practising a lot, not only by myself but together with the Ethiopian people," said Barega, who quickly sets his sights on future success.

"As an athlete the primary target for us is to participate in the Olympics, be a champion, and also be able to break the record.

"So I'm really thinking about future opportunities for me to achieve that, and if possible I'm also communicating with my manager about that."

There was no such joy for Djokovic as his bid to become the first man to win a calendar Golden Slam was crushed by a semi-final defeat to Alexander Zverev.

Djokovic was a set and a break up but the Serbian contrived to lose eight games in a row en route to a 1-6 6-3 6-1 loss.

Germany's Zverev had sympathy for his beaten opponent, who he declared as the greatest of all time.

He said: "I know that he was chasing history, chasing the Golden Slam and chasing the Olympics, but in these kind of moments me and Novak are very close. Of course I'm happy that I've won, but at the end of the day I know how Novak feels.

"I feel sorry for Novak, but he's won 20 grand slams, 550 Masters Series or whatever, you can't have everything.

"He's the greatest player of all time, he will win the most grand slams out of anybody on tour, but I'm also happy that I'm in the final."

Defeat in the mixed doubles means the 20-time grand slam champion will face two bronze medal matches in Japan.

 

MIXED RELAY WOES FOR USA

The 4x400 metre relay mixed event made its debut in the Olympics on Friday but it did not go well for the favourites as the United States suffered disqualification.

One of the team's baton exchanges was deemed to have taken place outside the designated zone, ending their campaign and leaving the gold medal up for grabs.

Poland qualified fastest with a time of three minutes 10.44 seconds, with the Netherlands close behind and Jamaica also in the mix.

 

SCHAUFFELE LEADS THE WAY IN RAIN-AFFECTED MEN'S GOLF

Xander Schauffele fired a 63 to move top of the leaderboard at Tokyo 2020, while home favourite Hideki Matsuyama and Rory McIlroy made big moves on Friday.

The threat of serious weather caused another delay on day two, and eventually brought an early end to play with Matsuyama among those not to finish his round.

But Schauffele, who has a big following in Japan as his mother was brought up in the country, sat pretty at 11 under as the stellar names bared their teeth at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Matsuyama was six under through 16 holes of his second round and eight under overall for the tournament.

McIlroy matched Matsuyama's round-one score but shot five under in round two and is well in the mix four shots back.

 

A LONG TIME COMING

Ma Long took gold in the table tennis as he became the first man to win consecutive Olympics titles in the event.

It was an all-Chinese final and Ma roared to victory against Fan Zhendong.

China also secured a one-two in the badminton mixed doubles.

 

IGLESIAS CAN BE CUBA'S HERO

Cuban welterweight fighter Roniel Iglesias earned a third Olympic medal after sinking American Delante Johnson with a sweep of the scorecards.

After a bronze in Beijing and gold at London in 2012, Iglesias savoured another chance to target the top step of the podium.

The 32-year-old said: "It is my third medal which is very important but what I really want is to win the gold medal. It is a historic moment for me and for my country, Cuba. I am very happy at this achievement."

Light heavyweight Ben Whittaker admitted he was a blubbering mess after securing at least a bronze medal for Great Britain. He set up a semi-final against Imam Khataev – representing the Russian Olympic Committee – after scoring a majority points win over Brazilian Keno Machado.

Whittaker was overwhelmed by the result and burst into tears at the realisation he would be taking home a medal.

"That was the hard part, getting that medal," Whittaker said. "I won't relax, but I've pushed through that first door now and all I have to do is start changing that colour. Bronze is a lovely colour but everyone wants gold."

 

DRAMA APLENTY IN WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

The quarter-finals of the women's football competition delivered on drama in a big way.

Penalty shoot-outs were needed for Canada and the United States to progress to a last-four showdown, with Brazil and the Netherlands their respective victims.

Australia won a seven-goal thriller 4-3 against Great Britain after extra time and will now meet Sweden, who knocked out hosts Japan 3-1.

A'Ja Wilson led the way for the United States as they saw off host nation Japan 86-69 at the Tokyo Olympics, while China and Belgium booked their places in the quarter-finals.

Team USA are six-time defending champions, though they were made to work by their opponents in Saitama before their height proved decisive.

Now on a 51-game winning streak at the Olympics, Team USA top Group B on four points from their two games so far at the Games.

Wilson was the top scorer with 20 points, while she also contributed 10 rebounds and three assists. Support arrived from Breanna Stewart (15 points) and Brittney Griner (15 points).

It was by no means a comfortable victory, however, having edged out Nigeria 81-72 in their first match.

"Just communication. One, we're getting used to the ball. And then two, just working on making sure we're just all in for each other and understanding the personnel a little bit better," explained guard Jewell Loyd when asked how the team were looking to improve as the tournament goes on.

"Taking a breath. We've played a little fast in other games so just trying to get a rhythm for us, take it slow and play our basketball."

Only Wilson scored more points than Japan's Maki Takada, but the hosts were simply physically outmatched.

"[Team USA] are really superstars," said Evelyn Mawuli. "They know how to play and they're tall and we're small, so we have to run faster than them. So that was a bit difficult, but it was fun."

CHINA SNATCH LATE WIN TO SEAL QUARTER-FINAL SPOT

China and Belgium are sure of their places in the last eight.

That is because of a last-gasp win for China against Australia, avoiding overtime in dramatic fashion to clinch a 76-74 triumph in Group C.

China, who were led by 20-point Wang Siyu, were 11 ahead at one stage in the final quarter, but that deficit was cut down by a resurgent Australia.

However, with 0.6 seconds left, Li Yueru was fouled under the basket. She made both free throws to seal victory and progression into the quarters.

In the process, Belgium's progress was also secured. They beat Puerto Rico 87-52 in the first of Friday's matches.

GARNIER PROUD OF FRANCE REACTION

Elsewhere, France bounced back from an opening defeat to Japan with an 87-62 victory over Nigeria in Group B.

Five players made into double figures for points for the French team, with Sandrine Gruda topping the charts with 14, adding nine rebounds and three assists.

"It was necessary after the defeat against Japan to have a good reaction. I am proud of my team because they did and they all played very hard defence," France coach Valerie Garnier said.

"This is necessary against Nigeria because they fight a lot. After we did this very good job, we tried to make the biggest gap possible, so 25 points was a good result for us."

There were no excuses for Nigeria coach Otis Hughley Jr, who said: "We just got beaten really bad. Offensively we were flat and we couldn't score. You can't play that way against the number five team in the world."

The United States and Canada will do battle in the semi-finals of the women's football tournament at Tokyo 2020 after edging into the final four.

USA - winners of the Olympic tournament four times previously - managed to beat the Netherlands 4-2 on penalties in their quarter-final after the game finished 2-2 at the end of extra time.

Having finished with fewer than six points in the group stage of a major event for the first time in their history, the USA knew a much-improved display was needed against a Dutch side who scored 21 times in their opening three games, the most of any women's side at a single Olympics.

They duly delivered a strong display as they twice took the lead only for Vivianne Miedema to continue her sensational form, scoring twice to cancel out goals from Samantha Mewis and Lynn Williams in an engrossing contest in Yokohama.

Megan Rapinoe swept the decisive penalty kick high into the net after Alyssa Naeher had made two stops to her right.


BRAZIL FALL SHORT AGAIN

Canada await USA after they inflicted further heartbreak on Brazil, whose wait for gold in this event goes on.

Beaten semi-finalists in Rio five years ago, Brazil were held to a 0-0 draw before suffering another defeat on penalties to the 2016 bronze medallists.

Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, who was injured in the closing stages of extra time, recovered to make two critical saves in the shoot-out to secure a 4-3 win.

"In the moment, it was about trusting myself, trusting my instincts, and trusting my ability to make a save," she said afterwards.

"Pain is temporary. We have our eyes on the prize."

 

WHITE TREBLE NOT ENOUGH AS MATILDAS WIN CLASSIC

The stand-out quarter-final took place between Australia and Great Britain, a seven-goal thriller eventually ending in a 4-3 victory for the Matildas.

Two goals from Ellen White had turned the game on its head and looked to be enough to send Hege Riise's side through, but Chelsea star Sam Kerr levelled in the 89th minute with a crisp low strike.

The contest then swung Australia's way in a dramatic minute in extra time, Mary Fowler's deflected shot finding the top corner after Caroline Weir had a penalty saved at the other end.

Kerr scored another before White completed her hat-trick with a deft header to set up a frantic finale, with Australia just holding on for a famous win.

Remarkably, they overperformed in terms of expected goals by 3.2, their highest such figure at these finals.

Australia will contest their semi-final against Sweden, who ended Japan's quest for a medal on home soil with a 3-1 victory.

Mina Tanaka cancelled out Magdalena Eriksson's sixth-minute opener, but Sweden took control in the second half through further goals from Stina Blackstenius and Kosovare Asllani.

 

Proud boxing star Ben Whittaker admitted he was a blubbering mess after securing at least a bronze medal for Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Wolverhampton-based light heavyweight set up a Sunday semi-final against Russian Olympic Committee's Imam Khataev after scoring a majority points win over Brazilian Keno Machado.

Whittaker was overwhelmed by the result and burst into tears at the realisation he would be taking home a medal.

"That was the hard part, getting that medal," Whittaker said. "I won't relax, but I've pushed through that first door now and all I have to do is start changing that colour. Bronze is a lovely colour but everyone wants gold."

His verdict until beating Machado was that anything less than gold would amount to "nothing", but when the reality that he would be on the podium struck, Whittaker let his emotions spill out.

"I was crying, bogies were flying everywhere. I was trying to keep as calm as I could but I couldn't help it," Whittaker said. "I've just got to compose myself now as Sunday is when it gets real.”

He said his father, a council worker, would usually be at work at 5am but was given permission to stay at home to watch the 24-year-old Olympian in action.

"He hasn't slept all night and he has been giving me tactics, trying to keep me calm but I know my dad when he is nervous. His nervousness was making me a bit nervous," Whittaker said.

"My mum was probably trying to talk to him and he was probably telling her to shut up and whatnot. But bless him, I've done it for him, not just me."

Khataev had a third-round knockout win over Spain's Gazi Jalidov to earn a shot at Whittaker next.

The other light heavy semi-final will see Azerbaijan's Loren Berto Alfonso Dominguez tackle Cuban Arlen Lopez after both enjoyed unanimous judges' verdicts.


CUBAN STAR TAKES DOWN JOHNSON

Cuban welterweight fighter Roniel Iglesias earned a third Olympic medal after sinking American Delante Johnson with a sweep of the scorecards.

After a bronze in Beijing and gold at London in 2012, Iglesias savoured another chance to target the top step of the podium.

The 32-year-old said: "It is my third medal which is very important but what I really want is to win the gold medal. It is a historic moment for me and for my country, Cuba. I am very happy at this achievement."

Russian Andrei Zamkovoi awaits him next, with Great Britain's Pat McCormack tackling Ireland's Aidan Walsh on the opposite side of the draw.


FIRE FUELS JONES GOLD DREAM

American Oshae Jones saw off Dominican Maria Moronta on points in their women's welterweight last-eight clash, and afterwards the 23-year-old from Ohio opened up on the fire that nearly took her life in May.

Jones was woken by banging on the door of her Toledo home as a blaze took hold of her home. Now a guaranteed medallist, she recalled: "We barely got out. We've got pretty noisy neighbours, thank god. Any other neighbourhood, where people mind their business, I would be dead.

"The home is coming together again, slowly but surely. I had to get a whole new roof and inside drywall, wiring. It's a lot, but I keep pushing every day. My boyfriend and I had purchased it. It was a fixer-up and we were almost done. Now we've had to start over.

"It's always in the back of my mind when I am at camp: what I am going to go home to, is the house going to be done? All I can do is give my best here.

"I’ve thought about winning a medal and had a vision of me standing on the podium. I practise my gold-medal speech every day, so I plan on winning."


'FIST THROUGH HIS FACE'

New Zealander David Nyika secured a heavyweight medal by beating Belarusian Uladzislau Smiahlikau emphatically on points, and 2019 World Championship winner Muslim Gadzhimagomedov stands in his way of a place in the final.

If Nyika gets his way, Gadzhimagomedov will not be standing for long when they battle it out on Tuesday.

"Yeah, 'Gadz' is top class. I have nothing but respect for him as he has accomplished so much. But I'm going to try and put my fist through his face," said Nyika.

The 25-year-old Nyika was a flagbearer for his country at the Olympic opening ceremony and is feeling the weight of expectation to deliver.

"Getting bronze doesn't take the pressure off, I'm still under a lot of pressure. The rest of New Zealand is shouting for me but I know I've got a lot more to do," he said.

"I've got a lot to prove, not only to them but to myself. I've been working so hard and mentally I've been through some pretty rugged stuff over the last 18 months and I'm pretty sure I'm going to come out of it on the other side a lot bigger and a lot stronger.

"I'll have proved to myself that I'm worthy of everyone’s respect and the honour that my team has given me."

The opposite heavyweight semi-final will see Brazilian Abner Teixeira tackle Cuban Julio Cruz.

Ethiopia's Selemon Barega secured gold in the men's 10,000 metres final as the athletics got underway at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

Barega surged clear of Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo, who were each denied a first Olympic gold for Uganda, as he clocked 27 minutes 43.22 seconds in the Japanese capital.

Cheptegei, the 2019 world champion, was highly fancied to win, while compatriot Kiplimo would have become the youngest man to be crowned champion at the distance at the age of 20 years and 258 days.

But Barega, himself only 21, claimed the honour of the maiden athletics gold at this year's event after timing his kick for the line to perfection.

USA SUFFER MIXED RELAY DQ

It was a disappointing outing for the United States' mixed 4x400m relay team as the favourites were disqualified.

The event is making its debut in the Olympics but the landmark will not be fondly remembered by USA's foursome after one of their baton exchanges was deemed to have taken place outside the designated zone.

That has left the gold medal well and truly up for grabs, with Belgium, Ireland and Germany the automatic qualifiers from heat one, while in heat two it was Poland, Netherlands and Jamaica.

Great Britain and Spain round off the final eight, having gained the two next best times.

 

HASSAN SETS THE STANDARD

Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan laid down a marker in the heats for the 5,000m.

The first heat was much quicker than the second, with Hassan's 14:47.89 leading the way.

She is chasing a first Olympic medal and will face stiff competition from the likes of Kenya's Hellen Obiri.

Obiri won silver in Rio and qualified second fastest in the second heat with a time of 14:55.77.

 

HAVING A FIELD DAY

In two of the field events to begin on Friday, women's world number one triple jumper Yulimar Rojas recorded the longest leap of the heats at 14.77m.

The Venezuelan, a two-time world champion, had to settle for silver in Rio behind Colombia's Caterina Ibarguen, who will be eyeing a repeat in Tokyo.

Ibarguen's qualifying jump was a season's best 14.37m.

China led the way in the women's shot put, Gong Lijiao staking her claim with a throw of 19.46m, putting her ahead of compatriot Song Jiayun (19.23).

Ash Barty has conceded her dramatic Olympics mixed doubles defeat will be tough to take.

The world number one saw her hopes of winning a gold medal for Australia at Tokyo 2020 brought to an end on Friday.

Barty and partner John Peers won the first set against Russian Olympic Committee duo Andrey Rublev and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

But Rublev and Pavlyuchenkova turned it around to win an epic clash 5-7 6-4 13-11 and reach the final.

With Barty already eliminated in the singles and women's doubles competitions, the best she can now hope for is a bronze medal alongside Peers.

They will meet Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic for the last spot on the podium.

"It is a tough one to swallow," said Barty. "I think those tie-breaks at times, they go either way and we just didn't quite have the run of the grain. 

"We put ourselves in a position to win the match, we just weren't able to close it out. It was a good level, no doubt disappointing."

Another chance at a medal means Wimbledon champion Barty will try to get over her loss swiftly.

She added: "But we get to fight for a medal - this one hurts but we still have an opportunity to play another match and try to win a medal for Australia. 

"We pick ourselves up pretty quickly, move on and know that we will give it our all and keep fighting right until the end.

"It's been quite a while since we've had an Australian medallist here [in tennis] at the Olympics so we're looking forward to that challenge."

In the men's doubles, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic are Olympic champions after they beat fellow Croatia representatives Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig in the final.

Alexander Zverev apologised to Novak Djokovic after ending the Serbian superstar's hopes of a glorious Golden Slam – but joked it was about time someone else landed a major tennis title.

In their Olympic Games semi-final, it seemed Djokovic was cruising through to the gold medal match when he surged a set and a break of serve ahead.

Incredibly, though, Zverev won 10 of 11 games from 3-2 behind in the second set to take the match 1-6 6-3 6-1 and set up a shot at Karen Khachanov in Sunday's final.

Djokovic swept to Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon trophy success before heading to Japan for the Olympics, the fourth leg of a potential sweep of each of the year's majors and the Tokyo 2020 singles title.

He had spoken of it becoming closer to a reality, as he attempted to match Steffi Graf's achievement from 1988, when she followed triumphs at each of the slams by winning in the October 1 final at the Olympics, held in Seoul that year. Graf remains the only player to have pulled off the feat in the same year.

Zverev had other ideas, but he also had sympathy for Djokovic when they exchanged words at the net.

"I told him that he's the greatest of all time, and he will be," Zverev said.

"I know that he was chasing history, chasing the Golden Slam and chasing the Olympics, but in these kind of moments me and Novak are very close. Of course I'm happy that I've won, but at the end of the day I know how Novak feels.

"I feel sorry for Novak, but he's won 20 grand slams, 550 Masters Series or whatever, you can't have everything.

"He's the greatest player of all time, he will win the most grand slams out of anybody on tour, but I'm also happy that I'm in the final."

 

Victory at Wimbledon earlier in July took 34-year-old Djokovic to 20 grand slam titles, level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most by a man in the history of tennis, and Zverev was lurching towards becoming his latest victim when their Tokyo tussle began in a one-sided manner.

"I was down a set and a break, so I needed to change something. I started playing much more aggressive," Zverev said. "I started to swing through the ball a little bit more, and I tried to dominate that way."

Zverev is assured of at least a silver medal now, while Djokovic faces a bronze medal play-off against Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta.

"It's an amazing feeling knowing that you're going to bring the medal back to your house, back home to Germany," Zverev said.

"It's incredible beating the best player in the world undoubtedly right now and in this season. It seemed it was impossible to beat him at this event, so I’m very happy right now. But yet there's still one match to go."

Novak Djokovic's hopes of becoming the first man to win a calendar Golden Slam were crushed by a semi-final defeat to Alexander Zverev at the Tokyo Olympics.

From a set and a break up, Djokovic dropped a staggering eight games in a row on his way to a 1-6 6-3 6-1 loss.

The 34-year-old Serbian had been unsure about coming to the Games but was swayed by the pride he takes in representing his country and the tantalising opportunity to add a gold medal to a potential clean sweep of the grand slams.

He has already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and will head to the US Open in August as a heavy favourite regardless of this setback.

But this was just not Djokovic's day, despite him making a whirlwind start and dominating until the point he broke to lead 3-2 in the second set. From there, Zverev seized control. 

When Djokovic volleyed into the net to make it 3-3, dropping serve for the first time in the match, it looked like just a minor stumble.

Yet suddenly he was struggling for form and did not win another game until he was already 4-0 behind in the deciding set.

Zverev was playing blindingly brilliant tennis and was proving obdurate too, saving four break points in the second game of the third set.

He clinched victory with a blazing backhand winner, and goes on to face Russian Karen Khachanov in the final.

The result means Djokovic, like Roger Federer, seems fated never to win the Olympic singles gold medal. And it leaves Steffi Graf as the only player to ever win a calendar Golden Slam, having done so in 1988 when she added the Seoul Olympics title to her haul of majors.

Russian Olympic Committee's Khachanov fended off Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta with some ease in the first semi-final, with the world number 25 sweeping to a 6-3 6-3 victory in an hour and 19 minutes.

He won 26 of 28 points on first serve to freeze out Carreno Busta, who had only one break point all match and could not take that opportunity.

"It's just a pure happiness, a pleasure to be here to live those moments, these kind of memories will stay forever," Khachanov said.

Khachanov delivered a rock solid display, with his serve and forehand at their best, barely giving his opponent a sniff of an opportunity as the Moscow-born 25-year-old established a firm grip.

"That's the way I prepared, against every opponent you play a little bit differently," Khachanov said. "The final will be another story, another match, another day. I hope it will be the same."

Carreno Busta, who will face Djokovic for the bronze medal, said: "It was not the best match I have played, but Karen was unbelievable today, playing very aggressive and serving really good."

Russia came out firing on Friday as they condemned any suggestion of drug cheats within their ranks at the Olympic Games, saying God would be the judge of critics.

Competing as the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in Tokyo, due to recent state-sponsored doping scandals that mean their national flag and anthem are absent from the Games, the team comprising Russian athletes are flying high in the medals table.

They believe insinuation of cheating continues to plague their competitors, who they are adamant are clean.

A post on the ROC Twitter page read: "How unnerving our victories are for some of our colleagues. Yes, we are here at the Olympics. Absolutely rightfully. Whether someone likes it or not. But you have to be able to lose.

"The old hurdy-gurdy again started the song about Russian doping. Someone is turning the handle diligently.

"English-language propaganda, oozing verbal sweat in the Tokyo heat. Through the mouths of athletes offended by defeats. We will not console you.

"Forgive those who are weaker. God is their judge. And for us – an assistant."

That was posted alongside photographs of two swimmers – American Ryan Murphy and Great Britain's Luke Greenbank – plus United States rower Megan Kalmoe.

Murphy and Greenbank both questioned whether their race was clean after taking silver and bronze respectively in the 200 metres backstroke final, which was won by Russian Evgeny Rylov.

"I've got about 15 thoughts, 13 of them would get me into a lot of trouble," Murphy said in a news conference when asked if he felt the race was fair.

"I try not to get caught up in that. It is a huge mental drain on me to go throughout the year that I'm swimming in a race that's probably not clean, and that is what it is."

Greenbank joined in, adding: "It's obviously a very difficult situation, not knowing who you race against is clean."

Rylov, who has also won the 100m at the Games, insisted he does not dope, telling the same news conference: "I have always been for clean competition, I am always tested, I also fill out all the forms so from the bottom of my heart I'm for clean sports."

Kalmoe said on Thursday it had been "a nasty feeling" to see the Russian Olympic Committee win silver in the women's pair rowing event.

The World Anti-Doping Agency's then-president Craig Reedie declared in December 2019 that "for too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport", condemning a "stance of deception and denial" within the country's anti-doping authorities.

An independent Compliance Review Committee said at the time that Russian athletes who could demonstrate a commitment to clean sport would continue to be allowed to compete at the highest level, electing not to impose a blanket ban on competitors from the country.

That has allowed the Russian Olympic Committee to bring over 300 athletes to Tokyo.

Reigning champion Connor Fields is "awake and awaiting further medical evaluation" after a sickening crash in the semi-finals of the men's BMX racing at the Tokyo Olympics.

The American 2016 gold medallist was stretchered off the course and taken to hospital after the major crash with Twan van Gendt of the Netherlands and Sylvain Andre of France in the third run of the semi-final heats.

"We can confirm that Connor Fields is awake and awaiting further medical evaluation. We will share additional updates as they become available," a USA team doctor said.

Fields, appearing in his third Olympics, had already qualified for the final but was unable to take his place, given the injuries sustained, with Niek Kimmann from the Netherlands taking out the gold.

Great Britain's Kye Whyte claimed silver with Colombia's Carlos Alberto Ramirez Yepes winning the bronze.

Another gold medal contender, Australia's Saya Sakakibara, also crashed out in the women's BMX racing.

Sakakibara, whose brother Kai suffered life-changing head injuries from a crash in the sport 15 months ago, was carried off the course on a stretcher but later able to perform media interviews.

The Australian had been leading the pack ahead of the last turn in the third run of the semi-finals, before a clash of wheels with USA's Alise Willoughby brought the pair down.

Australia's Olympic team tweeted that Sakakibara had "sustained a few bumps and bruises and will continue to be monitored over the next 24 hours as a precaution".

Sakakibara told Channel 7: "This is so disappointing. I feel like I have let everyone down. I let everyone down, especially my brother."

Great Britain's Bethany Shriever went on to win the gold medal, ahead of Colombia's Mariana Pajon and the Netherlands' Merel Smulders.

 

SCHOENMAKER SMASHES WORLD RECORD

South African Tatjana Schoenmaker improved on her 100 metres women's breaststroke silver medal with a gold in Friday's 200m, as well as smashing the world record.

Schoenmaker finished in two minutes and 18.95 seconds, breaking Rikke Moller Pedersen's pre-existing mark of 2:19.11, as she beat USA pair Lilly King and Annie Lazor.

"I wasn't expecting that at all," Schoenmaker said about her world record, having appeared visibly stunned upon realising her time. "I was really trying to focus on my own race. [King] definitely pushed me, knowing that her first 100 is so good."

Russia Olympic Committee's Evgeny Rylov swam an Olympic record time to win the men's 200m backstroke, having won gold in the 100m earlier this week.

Rylov, who swam 1:53:27, beat USA's Ryan Murphy and Great Britain's Luke Greenbank.

Australian Emma McKeon also marked an Olympic record as she won gold in the women's 100m freestyle ahead of Hong Kong's Siobhan Haughey and countrywoman Cate Campbell.

China's Wang Shun won the men's 200m individual medley from Britain's Duncan Scott and Switzerland's Jeremy Desplanches.

 

KIWIS DOMINATE THE ROWING

New Zealand picked up a handsome share of the rowing medals at the Sea Forest Waterway, with two golds and a silver from the four events on Friday.

Emma Twigg triumphed with an Olympic-best time of 7:13.97 in the women's single sculls, finishing ahead of Russia Olympic Committee's Hanna Prakatsen and Austria's Magdalena Lobnig.

New Zealand also won in a thrilling finish from Germany and Great Britain in the men's eight final, edging out the Germans by less than a second.

Hamish Bond was part of the New Zealand eight, having won golds in 2012 and 2016 in the coxless pair, before focusing on cycling in 2017, only to revert back to rowing for Tokyo.

Bond said: "The thing about an eight is it doesn't matter what you do as individuals, it's how you can collectively harness that potential."

Canada won the women's equivalent, pipping New Zealand across the line by 0.91 seconds, with China in third.

Greece won their first medal of the Games in style, with Stefanos Ntouskos claiming gold in the men's single sculls from Norway's Kjetil Borch and Croatia's Damir Martin.

 

WOMEN'S 100M HEATS UP

The track events got under way, with the women's 100m heats the main attraction at the Olympic Stadium, headlined by Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou with the joint fourth quickest legal time ever seen at the Games.

Two-time World Championship silver medallist Ta Lou ran a personal best time of 10.78 seconds.

Jamaican duo Elaine Thompson-Herah – the reigning Olympic champion – and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were the next fastest, with 10:82 and 10:84 respectively.

With the field stacked with quality, Fraser-Pryce said: "There's rivalry with everybody. All female athletes are showing up and you're competing so I don't focus on just one individual."

Marie-Josee Ta Lou produced one of the fastest women's 100 metres in Olympic Games history as the sprint heats showcased a string of stunning displays on day one of the athletics.

The 32-year-old from Ivory Coast posted a personal best of 10.78 seconds, the joint fourth quickest legal 100m ever seen at the Games, excluding those that have exceeded wind assistance limits or been wiped from the record books because of doping.

Two-time World Championship silver medallist Ta Lou delivered her standout display in the fourth heat and said: "Surprise, surprise. I'm in shock actually. I know I'm ready. I will be re-focusing on my run because I really didn't expect to run as fast as I just did. And 10.78, it's great."

Asked whether advancing spike technology had helped, Ta Lou said: "No, I don't think so because I feel the same way when I wear other shoes. This one was not making me run really fast. It's only the colours."

She was joined in producing an early statement of intent by Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah – the defending champion – with the women's 100m shaping up to be more tantalising a race than the men's equivalent.

 

Fraser-Pryce is the fastest woman in the world this year, having run a 10.63 in June – the quickest legal 100m since Florence Griffith-Joyner's still-startling 1988 hot streak.

The 34-year-old ran 10.84 to win heat five, and when asked if there was rivalry in the Jamaican ranks she said: "Oh, there's rivalry with everybody. All female athletes are showing up and you're competing so I don't focus on just one individual.

"If you notice the heat, that's some really quick running, so you just have to make sure that you're ready. And I think it's good for females sprinting. It's long overdue and I'm hoping that it definitely is up to the expectation."

Thompson-Herah did the 100m and 200m sprint double in Rio five years ago and is chasing more gold medal success in Japan, with her first outing showing she is in great shape to contend, the 28-year-old closing 10.82 in the second heat.

"These are some of the quickest fields in the history of the event," she said.

Britain's Dina Asher-Smith was a comfortable second in the first heat, clocking 11.07 as Teahna Daniels crossed first in 11.04, and was asked whether this might be a fast track.

"I think so, but I really wasn't thinking about things like that. It might be," Asher-Smith said. "But today was just about making it through to the next round safely at the same time as knowing I've got another level to give tomorrow. And I do have another level, of course I do. It's an Olympics."

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